Christian Apologists insist that Atheists “rebel against God,” or “deny God,” or, “have something against God,” usually attached to a baseless claim that they do it so that they can ‘sin’. This old Atheist – especially as I get older and older – certainly doesn’t. My sinning days are long past. Substitute the word unicorn, for God. I don’t rebel against unicorns. I don’t deny unicorns. I don’t have something against unicorns. I would love it if they actually existed. I just don’t see any evidence for either.
Like most other Atheists that I know, as the specter of my imminent demise looms closer and closer, I would welcome the existence of a God, a Savior, Salvation, Heaven and Eternal Life. In the futile hope of some proof, I sometimes seek the knowledge and opinions of experts.
The Book: Jesus Interrupted
The Author: Bart Ehrman
The review: I start with an author whose name made me suspect that he was Jewish. I thought that I might get a glimpse of the New Testament from the outside. I was mistaken and disappointed. Still, he attended three prestigious theological colleges, has degrees, and letters behind his name. He should know something. He has published over 20 books about different aspects of the New Testament.
He now teaches at a theological college. He says that, almost without exception, each year’s new batch of students think they do – but really don’t – have any idea of what the Bible actually says. He laid out a trail of over a hundred examples of Biblical errors, contradictions, misinterpretations, insertions, deletions, forgeries, books credited to Paul or the Apostles but actually written by someone else.
A couple of the forgeries made it into the Canon. A few of the books which seem valid to researchers were left out. The four Apostolic Gospels, and Paul’s writings, don’t agree with each other. He admits that they were intentionally skewed (deceptive propaganda) to mislead different groups, to get them to join the movement. Of the graduates who go on to become priests, preachers or ministers, he has never heard of one who teaches, or even mentions, any of this to their congregations.
As I was reading this book, I encountered a female Atheist blogger who was reading one of his other books. She thought that he was, at least, an Agnostic. In my book, he says that he is a non-denominational Christian. He shows how modern Christian dogma and Orthodoxy came into being, just because the group centered in Rome – weren’t true and correct – just better organized and more powerful.
After all of this, he says that he ignores all these inconvenient details, and believes in Christ as a Savior, because the underlying story is so uplifting. He claims that he will not officially join a particular religion or Christian Denomination until he finds one which doesn’t harass or marginalize females or LGBTQ. 😯 Well, good luck with that.
Each year, when it comes time to teach why the Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, he shows them how He does not fill the requirements in Hebrew religious law. To them, Jesus was just an itinerant, apocalyptic rabbi, who claimed to speak for God. He uses the analogy of how foolish it would be for Christians to accept the similar claims of David Koresh, of Waco’s Branch Davidian. Each year, at least one student complains on their professor evaluation form, “I can’t believe that Ehrman believes that David Koresh is the Lord of the Universe.” He finds it amusing. I find it amusing that he does not see the irony.
As always, I had hoped to learn something new. All I learned was to choose my reading more carefully.